Many runners and long-distance walkers experience shin splints. It is a term that refers to the pain one may encounter along the border of the tibia. The pain can be on the front side of the shin (anterior) or the inside of the lower leg (posterior medial). Shin splints are also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).
What Causes Shin Splints
Shin splints occur when you put too much stress on the tibia. They will also happen if you overwork the muscle next to the tibia. It can result from highly intensive exercises involving running or jumping. Also, you can experience shin splints at the beginning of a sports or workout program.
Fortunately, shin splints can be treated. Once you treat your shin splints, you can prevent them from reoccurring.
Ways to Prevent Shin Splints
You can avoid shin splints in various ways, including:
Running on Softer Surfaces
By running on hard surfaces, you strain your bones, joints, and muscles. You can develop a routine to vary your running surfaces. For instance, you can opt for softer surfaces like grass or dirt trails instead of concrete.
You can choose to run on a treadmill once or twice during the week. It gives you an alternative that is easier on your body than roads or sidewalks.
Have a Day to Rest
Because this injury arises from stressing and overuse of muscles, joints, and bones, it is good to have a rest day. It gives your body time for recovery. If you are starting out, avoid running two days in a row. For experienced runners, do not run every day of the week. Set aside a day or two where you rest and recover.
Increase Mileage Gradually
Increasing your mileage or intensity leads to stressing and overusing muscles and joints. When you are new to running, be careful and watchful all the time. Ensure that you do not run through the pain. Experts recommend that you can only return to running two weeks after being pain-free.
Ensure You Have the Right Running Shoes
You can develop shin splints as a result of running in the wrong shoes. Ensure that your shoes have enough stability and cushion. Experts recommend that you replace your shoes after running 350 to 500 miles.
You can also buy over-the-counter shoe inserts to add stability and cushion to your shoes. Another option is to get a running expert to examine your gait and feet and recommend the best shoes.
One of the causes of shin splints may be weak anterior tibialis muscles. Strength training can help to make them firm. The muscles are responsible for flexing your foot at the ankle. You can do toe raises or heel raises to help you strengthen the shin and calf muscles.
You can avoid shin splints by the methods mentioned above. Additionally, keep your body weight in check. It will help you avoid straining the muscles, joints, and bones in your feet.